Peskin Apologizes to Fire Chief After Criticizing North Beach Response

Citing his passionate love for the community as the source of his anger, Peskin issued an apology to Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

Image:: San Francisco Fire Department

Three days after slamming the San Francisco Fire Department for its response to a 4-alarm fire in North Beach, Supervisor Aaron Peskin has issued an apology to Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White for raising his concerns at the scene of the incident.

“I have been a longtime champion of the brave men and women of Local 798, and I am very grateful for their service on a busy St. Patrick’s Day and that no one was injured,” Peskin wrote in a statement Tuesday. “While I reserve the right to raise questions as more information comes out about SFFD leadership response to Saturday night’s fire, it was inappropriate to raise them on the scene. I apologize to Chief Hayes-White, and I intend to personally convey this to her as soon as I return from the spring legislative recess.”

His apology comes after he told the Examiner that SFFD “just blew it” in their response to the blaze, which displaced dozens. According to Peskin, who arrived on the scene after dining nearby, firefighters did not get water on the fire for thirty minutes. In response, he said that the chief should be fired.

Peskin cited a love for his neighborhood as the driving force behind his inflammatory response, stating that he is “passionate about my community, especially when their safety is at stake. My genuine love for my constituents is what has always driven the fight in me.” 

Unlike other serious fires that have broken out across the city in recent years, this one drew a number of politicians to the scene. Aside from Peskin, Board of Supervisors President and mayoral candidate London Breed was there, taking the opportunity to chat with the press — despite skipping a candidate forum on housing earlier in the day. Mayor Mark Farrell also visited the fire, but did not appreciate Peskin’s challenge to Hayes-White, telling media that “to comment that a chief should resign from an elected official in the middle of a live fire is one of the most inappropriate things you can do.” 

An investigation into the cause of the fire is still underway. 

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